Steve's Conclusion & Samples

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Steve's SnapShot
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  • 150-600mm (4x) zoom range (approx. 233-930mm on APS-C cameras)
  • VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization system
  • Ultrasonic Silent Drive
  • Available in Canon, Sony and Nikon mounts
  • Includes lens hood and tripod mount
Pros
  • Amazing zoom range, perfect for shooting from a distance
  • Vibration Correction adds up to 4 stops of correction when shooting handheld
  • Although large, it is compact for this class of lens
  • Smooth, easy rotating rings for zoom and focus
  • Weather-sealed for shooting in all conditions
  • Affordable price tag (for a lens in this category)
Cons
  • Problems with the AF system on the cameras when using this lens
  • Slight amount of give when the lens is attached to a camera body
Bottom Line
As compact and affordable as a lens in this class can be, the Tamron SP 150-600MM F/5-6.3 Di VC USD provides zoom capabilities that are perfect for any situation in which you have to shoot from a distance. 
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a lens that is capable of getting you up close to a distant subject in any weather conditions. 
Tamron's new ultra-zoom lens, the SP 150-600MM F/5-6.3 Di VC USD, is a large and powerful zoom lens for anyone that is looking to get up close and personal with their subjects. This large lens can be used with either Full-Frame or APS-C sized image sensors, although with an APS-C sensor you are looking at 240mm-960mm (with Canon's 1.6x crop factor). This provides excellent zoom for extreme situations, distant sport photography and it is outstanding for wildlife photography. The ability to get close to your subjects without actually getting close to them allows you to photograph them without disturbing them and their natural habits. Weather-resistant construction allows you to be out in most weather conditions with the confidence that the lens will come through with no trouble, even in high moisture or rain. 

Handling the lens takes a little time to get used to, especially if you are not already used to a large lens. Shooting handheld will tire you out quickly; a mono or tripod is highly recommended. The two rings on the lens are firm, but move fluidly. This makes it easy to zoom and focus in the field. The same goes for the switches. They take a firm press to change them, and the snap feel and sound lets you know that they have changed position. One noticeable concern is that when attaching the lens to the camera, there is just a little give. It does not lock into place as firmly as we think that it should. The included lens hood and tripod mount are great accessories for spending time outside. The tripod mount is well balanced once the lens has been mounted on a camera, which makes adjusting and following a subject easy and comfortable when attached. 

While capturing our sample images, both a Canon 50D and Canon 60D were used. With both cameras we had some difficulty using the AF system. Since this happened with both camera bodies, we are looking at an issue with the lens. In both cases, we would have to manually focus and get close before the AF system would take over. Other than that, the 4x zoom range of the lens is awesome for any situation in which you are not able to get close enough to use a standard zoom lens.

The Vibration Correction O.I.S. is a huge help in all lighting situations when shooting handheld, but you will want to make sure that you turn it off if you put the lens on a tripod. Our museum sample images show the difference between the sharpness of the images with the VC on and off. Both sets of images were captured with the camera on a heavy duty Manfrotto tripod. With the aperture wide open, we were also able to achieve a smooth bokeh (blurred background) effect. This is very pleasing for close-up and portrait photography.

Bottom Line - With Tamron's newly designed SP 150-600MM F/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens, they have strived to give you the best quality at the most affordable price possible. In doing so, they did not skimp on the quality of the lens. It is loaded with the best Tamron has to offer, including their VC image stabilization system that allows for up to 4 stops of compensation. The only real issue that we found was with autofocus, where we had to manually focus and get close before the AF system was able to take over and produce a sharp image. With a MSRP of US $1,069.00, this lens does not fit into everyone's budget. But, if you have checked the prices on similar lenses, this is considered an affordable lens in this category.




























Sample Images:
All of our samples were taken in Aperture Priority mode with the VC on unless noted otherwise. All of the Museum and M&M man images were taken with the Canon 50D on a tripod.
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150mm f/5 VC off
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150mm f/13 VC off
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350mm f/5.6 VC off
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350mm f/13 VC off
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600mm f/6.3 VC off
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150mm f/5 VC on
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150mm f/13 VC on
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350mm f/5.6 VC on
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350mm f/13 VC on
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